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Aerial image of Waikīkī

Aerial image of Waikiki Beach

Waiale‘e on O'ahu's North Shore

Aerial image of Waialee, North Shore Oahu

Sea Grant awards $8.1 million to strengthen community resilience nationwide


February 2, 2023

(Honolulu, HI) – To build on Sea Grant’s nationwide initiatives to improve coastal community resilience, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program recently announced two complementary initiatives totaling $8.1 million.

Through a joint competition with the U.S. Coastal Research Program (USCRP), ten new projects were selected for a total of $3.9 million in funding to translate research into application for communities.

Additionally, Sea Grant programs across the nation received an additional total of $4.2 million in Sea Grant funds to increase local capacity, engagement, research, and implementation for addressing resilience challenges.

In Hawai‘i, the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (Hawai‘i Sea Grant) faculty and their collaborators will lead two separate projects to 1) improve coastal water quality across the state and forecast fecal bacteria levels in Waikīkī, and 2) assist communities on the North Shore of O‘ahu to adapt to climate change, including energy, water, food sustainability, and watershed restoration, among others.

Dr. Margaret McManus, professor and chairwoman of the Department of Oceanography at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology who is leading aspects of the water quality project, noted “Oftentimes after storms we see brown water along our coasts. This research will allow us to determine the level of terrestrial derived sewage and fecal matter in these waters. We will be working closely with the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) to establish initial test sites. PacIOOS has also contributed instrumentation to support this critical work.”

To read more about this project and access the full list of the USCRP-Sea Grant projects and descriptions, click here.

Kawela Farrant, Hawai‘i Sea Grant’s newest extension faculty and lifelong North Shore resident who is leading the project on the North Shore, noted “Community members and nonprofit groups in this area have a long history of advocating for natural resource protection, sustainability initiatives, climate change adaptation, and Hawaiian cultural preservation. Direct partnership with Hawaiʻi Sea Grant will provide additional financial capacity and technical expertise to initiatives that are strongly wanted, if not driven, by the local community.”

To read more about the funding to develop and implement extension programming on O‘ahu’s North Shore, as well as the full list of resilience awards and descriptions awarded nationwide, click here.

Project activities span California, Georgia, Hawai‘i, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Texas.

The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program is part of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s prestigious School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. It supports an innovative program of research, education, and extension services directed to increasing sustainability of coastal and marine resources and resilience of coastal communities of the state, region, and nation. Science serving Hawai‘i and the Pacific since 1968.